14 Aug 11 reasons why analogue is awesome
Whether you’re new to photography or have been shooting for years, sometimes we can find ourselves getting swept along on the wave; shooting, editing, producing, sharing. It can be really easy to get lost in the instant gratification that comes with digital and sometimes we lose sight of what we’re actually trying to capture. If this feels familiar, or even if you’re just a little curious, here are a few reasons to pick up that battered old film camera again and give analogue photography a little more love.
- It slows you down – Digital is a brilliant invention, partly because it allows us to shoot everything, but if we live our lives behind LCD screens we can end up missing out on the very moments we are trying to capture. Film lets you take a step back and stop to actually smell the roses (as well as shoot them).
- It’s versatile – From pinhole to wetplate, street photography to studio; analogue techniques encompass so many beautiful, fascinating and magical options that no matter what the subject matter, you can find a process that will work for you.
- It has a distinct aesthetic – Goodbye sharp, square-edged and noisy pixels. Hello dreamily soft and flattering film grain. Yum.
- It challenges you – Shooting with film means you have to dig a little deeper. The very constraints and limitations of using an analogue medium add positive value to the experience of using a camera to capture a moment.
- It’s accessible – These days, old analogue cameras can be picked up almost anywhere, by anyone. You don’t have to have a big budget, the latest tech or access to ‘the best’ lenses. A pinhole camera can literally be a black box (or other light-tight space) with a pinhole in one end and that is about as simple as you can possibly get. Analogue photography is a perfect combination of uncomplicated and thrifty which leads me to my next point…
- It’s cheap – Now this might seem like a contradiction, after all, everyone knows that film photography is an expensive business, right? Well yes and no. Yes the amount of shots you’ll get on a roll of film or photographic paper will mean that it’s more expensive per frame, but this does not necessarily correlate with the amount of well thought-out, usable images. It also doesn’t take into account the cost of a digital set up. The bodies, lenses, computer & post-production software, data storage… Add all this up and it often works out at thousands of pounds. Or you can pick up an analogue camera and a roll of film for less than £30. Shooting film can actually be wonderfully cheap.
- It’s fun! – Remember when you were a child and you had freedom, imagination and energy in spades? Want to feel like that again? Pick up an analogue camera and start shooting. You’ll be surprised where it takes you and who it makes you.
- It gives you confidence – Shoot for a while with a film camera and you will feel more confident in your skills as a photographer, I guarantee it. When you don’t always have the option to sit safely behind buttons, menus, filters and automatic settings, you have to learn how to use the tools in front of you.
- It’s good for the soul – The health and wellbeing benefits of creative pursuits are well documented, including in the recent report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing. Analogue photography encompasses all of the touch-points of standard digital photography but with the added benefit of slowing down to shoot in a more mindful, considered way, actively encouraging the photographer to spend more time ‘seeing’ their environment at a deeper level before creating an image. Analogue photography can help you understand the creative process better, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction and joy.
- It’s physical – Being able to physically hold a photograph in your hand is so special. It is a completely different experience from how we consume the majority of our media these days and being able to do this, provides us with a powerful connection to an object that is much more than just the sum of it’s parts. Holding an old family photograph in your hands, next to your heart, under your pillow, touching the metal or wood of a frame like a talisman, these options all allow you to experience the photograph in so many other ways that are not just about the image alone. More of your senses come into play when you are able to connect with a photograph as a physical, tactile object and not just on a phone or computer screen.
- It’s unique – For all their benefits such as precision, speed, and instant feedback, unfortunately digital photography can be lacking in one area that analogue processes have in spades… Personality. Try embracing the unique (and sometimes imperfect) moments of life in a more positive way. It’s a quality that analogue photography offers beautifully.
If you’re interested in learning more about the magic of analogue photography but are not quite sure where to start, you can get in touch here to find out about my introductory workshops & courses or listen to me each week on ‘Sunny 16’ where I co-host the UK analogue photography podcast.